It’s no secret that at some point in your job as a mom you will for sure be called “The Meanest Mom in the Whole World.” That’s because you probably are mean—at least in the eyes of your kids.
But what good, mean moms know best is that sometimes being mean is the thing that helps our kids grow up to be respectful, decent humans.
I don’t know about you, but I’d rather be called a mean mom than a pushover any day of the week. And if you’re not mean from time to time, you just aren’t doing it right.
So, here are 10 things mean moms have in common:
1. We make our kids clean up their own messes.
Much to the dismay of my firstborn who is now 9 years old, I’m so mean that sometimes I make my kids wipe the counter and clean up their own crumbs. If they walk around while simultaneously destroying the kitchen by eating cookies because they are doing jumping jacks, they will have to get out the vacuum and clean it up.
2. We make them take responsibility.
Forgot your homework? That’s fine the first time, but the next time, sorry. You’ll have to turn it in late. And I’m so mean that if I catch my kids in a lie, there is a punishment. If they break something, they have to make it right. In other words, I’m so mean, my kids have to be accountable for their actions.
3. We make them wear clothing that will protect them from the weather and/or help them not look like lost puppies.
While wearing a jacket seems like some sort of corporal punishment to my kids, I’m actually just trying to keep them warm, which means I’m also the meanest mom ever. I even take it so far as to make them wear clothes without stains and holes. Some days I even make them wear socks.
4. We sometimes don’t play with them so they’ll have to use their imaginations.
I’m so mean, my kids know it’s not my job to entertain them. Yes, we do fun stuff together, but sometimes I say no, and they have to use their imaginations. Sometimes, if I’m feeling really mean, they get shooed outside so I can have some peace and quiet.
5. We make them earn their rewards.
While kids in 2016 think they deserve a cell phone at the ripe old age of 8 years old, mean moms know better. We let them know that they have to earn that right, and they also need to have a few more years of existence before that’s going to happen. When I wanted to start driving, my dad said, “Get a job.” I’m so mean, my kids won’t get something just because they want it. They have to earn it—good grades, good behavior, whatever. Nothing is free when you’re a mean mom.
6. We make them do chores (sometimes without an allowance).
Mean moms love to make their kids do chores. We don’t even pay them for it sometimes. Instead, our kids learn that being in a family means everyone chips in. And that means sometimes they don’t get to play until they finish their work.
7. We don’t allow stuff other parents are doing.
Mean moms know their kids best. We aren’t afraid to say no even when other parents are saying yes. Your friend got to go to a midnight showing of the latest action movie at 8 years old? Good for him. But we have different rules. What works for another family may not work for us, and mean moms don’t care what other moms are doing.
8. We make them eat something other than mac and cheese for every meal.
We also make them finish their dinner, and say no to snacks when they eat one-and-a-half bites. I know it sounds awful because it would be a tragedy for my kid to have to eat a vegetable, but mean moms know that sometimes you just have to eat something green to get a little Red Dye #40 in your diet.
9. We ignore them sometimes.
When they throw a massive tantrum, or are screaming because they didn’t get their way, mean moms walk away and ignore it. If they keep begging, we’re experts at locking ourselves in a closet and pretending they aren’t there. And if they start banging on the door, we put on our headphones.
10. We teach them that the world does not revolve around them.
By definition, mean moms don’t put up with any crap. And the world doesn’t revolve around our kids. OK, it kind of does, but we don’t need to let them know that, do we? Of course we don’t. Because we’re the meanest moms ever. And we kinda like it that way.